Warner School of Education

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David Hursh

David Hursh

Teaching & Curriculum

LeChase Hall 452
Office Phone: (585) 275-3947
Fax: 486-1159


PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison (curriculum theory and research)
MS, Kansas State University (family and child development)
BS, Kansas State University (social science)

David Hursh’s research analyzes the increasing privatization and regimentation of K-12 education through policies, such as Race to the Top, the Common Core state exams, and public funding and tax policies that favor privately-run, publicly-funded charter schools.  For example, his most recent article details New York Governor Cuomo’s meeting with charter school CEOs and hedge fund managers to plan the future of public education, to the exclusion of public school educators.[1]  He has also written several critiques of President Obama and Arne Duncan’s education policies, including an entirely new chapter for the second edition of the book The Phenomenon of Obama and the Agenda for Education: Can Hope Audaciously Trump Neoliberalism?,  edited by Carr and Porfilio.  Other publications have focused on the last two decades of education policy in New York, including his article “Raising the Stakes: High-Stakes Testing and the Attack on Public Education in New York" in the Journal of Education Policy and his book High Stakes Testing and the Decline of Education: The Real Crisis in Education.  Forthcoming publications will show how test score data is misused to deceive the public about the state of education, [2] and how neoliberalism undermines education and democracy. [3]  His next book, The End of Public Schools: The Corporate Reform Agenda to Privatize Public Education (Routledge), will publish summer 2015.
When Hursh is not writing about education policy, he meets with educators locally, nationally, and internationally. In spring 2014, he gave a keynote speech to the New Zealand Education Institute, warning teachers and principals to resist the same education reforms that have been imposed in the United States. (This keynote speech can be viewed on YouTube. [4]) He gave similar speeches at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia; the University of New South Wales in Sydney; and Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand, where he also consulted with faculty and students. He also gave talks on theory and practice of environmental education at Monash University and Victoria University.
Hursh delivered an invited inaugural MEL Talk at Meliora Weekend at the University of Rochester that examined the misuse of standardized testing in New York. (This MEL Talk is available on YouTube.[5])
Hursh is not only interested in critiquing, but also in promoting critical classroom practices at the K-12 level, especially in the areas of environmental education and history.  During the 2011-12 academic year, Hursh was at Columbia University, where he was a visiting research scholar at the Earth Institute and an associate adjunct professor in the School for International and Public Affairs. In addition to teaching at Columbia, his efforts focused on The Millennium Village project, which encompasses 14 villages in 10 sub-Saharan countries and aims to achieve the United Nations' Millennium Development goals by 2015. Given the need to create sustainable reforms, he developed a model action research collaborative between universities in Uganda and Kenya and secondary schools in rural villages.
Hursh’s experience at the Earth Institute built on his previous work in Kampala, Uganda, where he taught primary school students about environmental sustainability (energy) and, along with two University of Rochester medical students, environmental health (air and water pollution). The Earth Institute and current projects also build on his research on teaching environmental health and justice, some of which is reflected in his book Teaching Environmental Health to Children: An Interdisciplinary Approach (2011), co-authored with Camille Martina. In 2012, he presented on teaching about environmental sustainability at the United Nations and gave a keynote presentation on water and sanitation at a regional United Nations conference held in Atlanta
In some of his recent writing, Hursh describes the connection between current environmental crises (climate change, resource depletion, and toxins in our environment), with economic and educational policies. He recently co-authored with his former doctoral student, Joseph Henderson, the article “Economics and Education for Human Flourishing: Wendell Berry and the Oikonomic Alternative to Neoliberalism,” which published in the journal Educational Studies. He is also co-editing, with Henderson and colleague David Greenwood, a special issue of Environmental Education Research that focuses on neoliberal times.
Hursh is an associate editor for the Americas for the Journal of Education Policy and an associate editor for the online journal Policy Futures in Education.
In fall 2014, he will teach a doctoral level course that examines the impact of globalization on education, from preschool through university.
Besides his appointment as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Hursh has been on the faculty of Swarthmore College, a visiting professor at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a research fellow at Bristol University, Bristol, England.

[1] Hursh, D. (in press). A cautionary tale: Governor Cuomo and the effort to destroy public education in New York. Professional Voice. Melbourne, Australia: The Australian Educators Union.
[2] Deceptive data: How the corporate reform movement uses standardized tests to achieve the neoliberal agenda. InA. Costigan and L. Grey (eds.)  Demythologizing educational reforms:  Responses to the political and corporate takeover of education. New York: Routledge (in press).
[3] Market ideologies and the undermining of democracy, education and equality. In J. Hall (ed.) Underprivileged school children and the assault on dignity: Policy changes and resistance. New York: Routledge (in press).

Publications Available on the Web

The Crisis in Urban Education: Resisting Neoliberal Policies and Forging Democratic Possibilities (Book review for the Educational Researcher)

Undermining democratic education in the USA: The consequences of global capitalism and neo-liberal policies for education policies at the local, state, and federal levels

Neoliberalism and schooling in the U.S.: How state and federal government education policies perpetuate inequality

We all live downstream: Transforming knowledge and thinking through teaching and learning about the relationship between the environment and human health

Neoliberalism, markets, and accountability: Transforming education and undermining democracy in the United States and England

In the News


ED404 Teaching, Curriculum, and Change
EDF408 Student Teaching in Elementary Schools B
EDF409 Student Teaching in Inclusive Elementary School Settings B
EDU428 Theory and Practice in Teaching and Learning Social Studies in Elementary School
EDU442 Race, Class, Gender, and Disability in American Education
ED532 Action Research Methods (1 credit)
ED551A Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 1A
ED551B Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 1B
ED551C Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 1C
ED552A Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 2A
ED552B Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 2B
ED552C Teaching & Curriculum Doctoral Cohort Seminar 2C
ED553 Teaching & Curriculum Dissertation Proposal Seminar
ED554 Action Research Dissertation Seminar I
ED555 Action Research Dissertation Seminar II